Research Associate, Dr Caroline Verfuerth, has secured a major fellowship in Welsh Government to advise policy makers on reducing environmental and agricultural carbon emissions.
Caroline, who works at the Centre for Climate Change and Social Transformations (CAST) at Cardiff University, will carry out behavioural and social change research within the Department of Environment and Rural Affairs (ERA), and will focus on identifying evidence needs in dietary change and land management.
Behavioural and social change is an essential aspect in combating climate change and is applicable in a range of contexts and roles, from Welsh Government institutional change to citizen and consumer choices, to professional and business choices.
Ultimately, the choices and behaviours of people and the policies that guide them have a direct effect on carbon emissions, including food systems which are a significant contributor to carbon emissions. Caroline will be working to understand how we can bring about positive behavioural and social change in our diets and our farming methods.
This research will support a wider programme to enable better collaboration between academia and policy to contribute to delivering robust, evidence-based decisions within Welsh environment and agriculture policy. The outcomes of which are expected to lead to new and improved understanding of social and behaviour science in practice and the improved uptake of research outcomes in policy.
“This fellowship is a great opportunity for me to learn about policy making and how our research can be useful for the process – particularly as an early career researcher. It’s also an excellent way for me to get a real insight into Welsh Government and to build a stronger relationship between academia and policy makers.”
A Welsh Government spokesperson said: “Supporting robust and evidence-based decisions within Welsh environment and agriculture policy will contribute to a successful delivery and improve the implementation of transformational policies throughout the policy cycle. Moreover, it will help address the need and emphasis on rapid, near-term emissions reduction to meet Wales’s acknowledgement of the climate emergency.”
All these factors and limited resources, means that governments need to be more focussed and the need to deliver policies that are effective has never been greater.
Dr Verfuerth began the fellowship in November 2021 and it’ll last for 16 months.